Morning mortals! Yes I was one of the many throngs of people who stood in a queue for
ages not too long to be honest to get my hands on a copy of The Fandom. This was the perfect gift to be giving away at a convention, for obvious reasons, but how does it stand up four months later when you actually get round to reading it?
Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con.
They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands …
I found this book enjoyable, though not entirely perfect. I feel like it highlights a lot of issues within YA fantasy but it didn’t go far enough as to call them out as a bad thing. I do think there is something to be said for not poo-pooing the works of other well known authors but this had the potential to really shake up how we look at YA fiction and it didn’t quite go far enough for me.
Spoiler-free example? Well let’s look at violence, this book had the potential to call out the YA violence that seems to be really extreme but has no long term consequences for our main characters. In a real world situation people don’t come out of a battle ready to debate ethics and maybe snog someone in the woods, this could have been the opportunity to recognise that, but it doesn’t.
I should clarify, a lot of the tropes of YA fantasy and science fiction are not inherently bad things. It might not be the most entertaining novel in the world if you just get a chapter of a character sleeping off a concussion the day after a big fight. However, if the schtick of your book is putting people from the real world into a fictional setting then go all the way, show me how brutally real you can be?
That isn’t to say this book doesn’t have some great moments, a lot of the linking between the real world and the fictional is very clever, and you can see the ‘fan’ in the author coming through with mentions of fanfiction, of canon and the like (who is writing this book but with the idea of toxic fandoms because I want to read that?).
There are some good non-romantic relationships explored in the book as well. We have siblings, friends who are girls and some others. This was a pretty good way of showing different types of friends girls can have, I certainly recognised some conversations I’ve had in there. The romantic relationships are also nice to read for the most part, though they do suffer from being incredibly predictable from the off. Had it been me, I might have chosen instead to remove romance altogether or to showcase a queer relationship instead. But I appreciate that a nature of fandoms themselves is to ship characters and that itself fits with the book.
So you see this is a complicated book in many ways, though it is a fairly simple read. If you’ve ever been a fan of YA fantasy and you know what that dream of entering a fictional world is like, then this might do something to scratch that itch. For me, it just doesn’t quite fully satisfy.
My rating: 3/5 stars
What say you? Did you also pick up a copy of this at YALC? Is it on your tbr? Let me know in the comments below!